The wunderkind from Portugal, Joao Felix has taken the football world by storm after Atletico Madrid triggered his release clause and brought him to Spain for a reported fee of €126 million from Benfica. The 19-year-old received a raucous reception from the fans after his splendid performance in the pre-season matches.

During his five outings in the pre-season encounters, he notched up three goals with two of them coming against European giants - Real Madrid and Juventus. After witnessing his performance against two top teams in the continent, Atletico’s manager Diego Simeone was all praise for the Portuguese. "He has a vision that allows him to adapt to many positions and is in a process of adaptation and the best thing he has is - I said from the first day - his desire to learn.”

Felix has already started working his magic in La Liga. In his first three appearances for the Los Rojiblancos, he has netted a goal and provided an invaluable assist for his team. His runs along the flank and high paced dribbles are reminiscent of Cristiano Ronaldo’s early days with Manchester United.

Even during his stint with Benfica in the 2018-19 season, the teen prodigy was utterly ruthless, netting, 20 goals in 43 appearances across all competitions, which forced Atletico to sign him without any hesitation. Felix arrived at the club when the regulars like Antoine Griezmann, Diego Godin, Juanfran and Felipe Luis had decided to move on to their next adventures.

Diego Simeone is someone who usually demands brutal physicality, incredible pressing and work rate, and an overemphasis on defending and counter-attacking from his players. These players imbibed and inherited Simeone’s system and laid the foundation of a resilient Atletico Madrid which took the victory lap in 2014 by lifting the La Liga title despite Barcelona’s and Real Madrid’s European dominance.

Since then, Atletico have endured a trophy drought in Spain and have failed to lift a Champions League trophy despite reaching two finals. Felix’s arrival is a clear sign that Atletico are working hard on rebuilding their squad. They have brought in Kieran Trippier and Marcos Llorente along with the wonder kid from Portugal.

In bringing his new vision to play, Simeone can rely on Felix’s scoring and creative abilities, allowing him to link up with his teammates to make him a better prospect for the club.

He also made his international debut for Portugal this year in the UEFA Nations League but was kept silent by the opponent defenders.

This clearly paints a picture that Felix still needs to be backed by his rather experienced teammates. However, the early highlights suggest that the Portuguese is tipped to shine under his new manager and might just follow in the footsteps of his idol Ronaldo. But is it all too early to speculate?

Maybe, but given the history of other teen prodigies such as Martin Odegaard and Alen Halilovic, one might hope that Felix’s graph is always on the up.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Oscar Del Pozo